IT was a nervy start for Katie Taylor at the AIBA Women’s World championships. She is the reigning Olympic champion but Taylor has not yet qualified for Rio 2016. The Irish star simply can’t afford to lose at the competition in Kazakhstan, at least not until she’s reached the semi-finals. This is her last chance to qualify for the Olympic Games in August and to do that she needs to finish in the final four.

Taylor came out quickly for the first round, flinging plenty of punches at Agnes Alexiusson. Many fell short and the Swede did pick out single quality shots to keep Taylor on edge. Katie’s nose started to bleed (more likely caused by an accidental head butt), and had to be checked a couple of times by the doctor. But it was Taylor’s ever present workrate that made sure of the win. Throwing clusters of shots, to bring in hefty left hooks that kept Alexiusson on the backfoot she stretched to snag Agnes on the end of right crosses. She may not have been defensively perfect but Taylor has made an energetic start to this tournament, winning a unanimous decision.

Taylor will next box on Monday against Argentina’s Dayana Sanchez.

American lightweight Mikaela Mayer, trained by formed Irish coach Billy Walsh, lost a unanimous vote to China’s Junhua Yin but having qualified earlier this year Mayer can rest easy that at least she will be going to the Olympics.

Irish light-flyweight Donna Barr suffered a heavy defeat to Canada’s Kim Klavel. She did well to last the four rounds, shipping far too many shots as the busy Canadian handed her count after count. Barr lost a wide unanimous decision, 40-33, 40-34 and 40-36.